25 Nov 12
Comments on AR development, from friends in a position to know:
“The AR painfully ‘evolved,’ rather than ‘was developed.’ It should come as no surprise that each step in its evolution was venomously resisted by the status-quo, and required catastrophic failures in the field (read that: Marines and Soldiers dying), and the associated negative publicity that was sufficiently shrill, in order to finally get each problem fixed, and there were lots of them, all with the requiem lying, finger-pointing, and cover-ups we’ve come to expect from bureaucracies, military and otherwise!
Even before JFK was elected, the Pentagon had decided that individual, aimed fire from heavy, battle rifles was less ‘efficient’ than short-range, multiple projectiles. Thus, the AR reared its head at a time when Army planners were trying to develop a multiple-projectile cartridge, the flechette-spitting SPIW (Special Purpose Individual Weapon). The SPIW project went nowhere, but the AR stuck around.
Meanwhile, Curtis LeMay and his Air Force were looking to replace its ageing inventory of M1 Carbines, used mostly for guard duty. LeMay particularly liked the AR’s pistol-grip, because his dog-handlers could easily hold and shoot it one-handed.
The M1 Carbine was a light, handy, short-range rifle, originally intended exclusively for rear-area defense and military policing. Its effectiveness was limited to 100m. Many were manufactured during the War Years, mostly because they were significantly easier and cheaper to make than was the M1 Garand. However, the M1 Carbine was never envisioned to be a ‘replacement’ for our main, battle rifle!
So, the AR came along at just the right time! It fit LeMay’s narrow requirements, and the Army simultaneously didn’t want to buy any more M14s. Even so, the AR was supposed to be only a short-term ‘solution,’ pending the introduction of more advanced weapons. A few stalwart riflemen lobbied to stay with the M14, but did not prevail, as you noted.
As history records, the whole multiple-projectile weapons project floundered, and a useable weapon never saw the light of day, as noted above. Meanwhile, the M16 kept evolving, albeit in convulsive steps, until functional problems were resolved. Today, our current M4 runs well, but still has the same range and penetration issues that have continuously haunted it since the 1960s!
LeMay was correct! The AR in 5.56×45 represented an appropriate replacement for the M1 Carbine. Since it began its swan-song forty years ago, the M14 has never been ‘replaced.’ There is no 500m, individual rifle currently in general issue.
I have reluctantly come to the conclusion that our military leadership, reflecting the despondent nature of our declining civilization, just cannot be persuaded that a single individual can make any difference, in any endeavor. The ‘Village’ mentality!”
Comment: As a society, including our military culture, we need to make an abrupt, philosophical turn-around!
To those willing to look at history, the well-trained, stalwart individual rifleman,
(1) Proudly, fearlessly exercising individual initiative,
(2) With a mastery of competent operational technique,
(3) In partnership with a legitimate, main battle-rifle,
(4) Chambered for a legitimate 500m cartridge,
(5) Equipped with a superior sighting system, and
(6) Employing carefully-aimed fire to precisely, unfailingly taking-out enemy combatants at all ranges, right out to the maximum
remains, more than ever, a force to be reckoned with. Indeed, it provides any army with an unstoppable, battle-winning capability that is attainable no other way.
We’re currently (re)learning that, the hard way!
“When two opposite points of view are expressed with equal intensity, the truth does not necessarily lie exactly halfway between them. It is possible for one side to be simply wrong.”